Last football season, I watched Ryan Anderson, Kent Roosevelt's big, or rather huge offensive tackle battle Stow High School. Actually liked him better as a sophomore. Overweight and did not bend well. Did not finish plays. Lined up on both sides of the ball, but did not play hard. Really dissappointed in his effort. Called my good friend John Nemec and told him as much.
I asked Coach Nemec, if Ryan would come to our msrohio combine in Medina. Coach told me that he had been working really hard and had his weight down and looked really good. I was looking forward to seeing Ryan, because he had the potential to be a top six OL guy for me.
Early in the combine, a coach told me that some prospect had thrown the power ball almost 41 feet. The average is about 33 feet. Ryan Anderson. He went on to broad jump 8 feet, run 5.2/proshuttle, and 5.2/40. All of this at 6'4 and 326 pounds. Ryan had worked evry hard and was impressive.
We talked and I made it clear to him that I was really impressed. Told him that I was his biggest critic and his answer was "Yea, I know."
The following Monday, Ryan was diagnosed with bone cancer in his knee. Next week, he starts very extensive chemo. Doctors believe that they can replace his knee. Tests show that the cancer has not spread. You go to war with guys like Ryan Anderson. When I was told that he had cancer, for some reason, finishing a block did not seem important.
Life is not always fair. I lost my wife to cancer almost eight years ago. A poster near my desk says, "It is not how hard you get hit. It is how hard you get hit...and keep moving forward." Ryan will play hard and dominate this opponent.